St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Thug4lyfe » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:00 am

You have the right to your opinion homeboy. We create our own Karmas. Buddhas and Bodhisattva teaches, some people believes and practices what they taught. Some people doesn't. It's their loss.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby ground » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:09 am

tsultrim wrote:I don't believe that anyone can predict the future with certainty - not even the Buddha.


I am predicting with certainty that as long as there are human beings those will believe {something} ;)


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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:10 am

tsultrim wrote:I don't believe that anyone can predict the future with certainty - not even the Buddha. This is because it is impossible for any being to have knowledge of all details in the universe.
Apparently omniscience is a quality of Buddhahood.

As for Katy's question, apparently the next Buddha will manifest after the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha (the Buddha of this age) have disappeared completely. Now this is apparently true for our world system. There are, apparently, countless other world systems, each with (and without, ie awaiting) their own Buddha.

As for Bodhisattvas, well, apparently, a world system can have any number of those doing their thing at any point in time.
:namaste:
PS As for St John of the Cross :twothumbsup: except for the mortification bit!!!
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:42 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Apparently omniscience is a quality of Buddhahood.


Is this something you've been told or is it something you've worked out or realized for yourself?

What do you mean by "omniscience"? Do you mean the ability to know the infinite number of details about the universe, past, present, and future? Or do you have some other definition?

What makes you think that such omniscience is possible?

As for Katy's question, apparently the next Buddha will manifest after the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha (the Buddha of this age) have disappeared completely.


Again, I'm interested to know if this is something you've been told, or whether you have somehow worked out that it is true. If you've worked out that it is true, I'm particularly interested in hearing your reasoning. Why can't there be other Buddhas before the teaching completely dies out?

What do you consider to be "disappeared completely". Would you consider that the teachings have disappeared completely if nobody understands the Buddha's teaching, even though scriptures might still exist? Or must the scriptures also be completely destroyed?

Do you think it might help if we do our best to destroy the remaining teachings, so as to prevent a long and painful death, and therefore hasten the coming of the new Buddha?

What are your ideas?
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:36 pm

tsultrim wrote:Is this something you've been told or is it something you've worked out or realized for yourself?

What do you mean by "omniscience"? Do you mean the ability to know the infinite number of details about the universe, past, present, and future? Or do you have some other definition?

What makes you think that such omniscience is possible?
First of all let me point out to you that I used the word "apparently" in all of my statements. How can I "work out" or "realize" somebody elses omniscience? Especially a dead persons omniscience. I could be witness to it (and maybe I was at some point in time) but I can't "realize" it.

Second, it's not what I mean by omniscience but the defintion according to the Theravadra Canon:
2. The Omniscience of the Buddha
“Nàgasena, was the Buddha omniscient?”
“Yes, O king, but the insight of knowledge was not always with him. It depended on reflection.”
“Then, Nàgasena, the Buddha could not have been omniscient if his knowledge was reached through reflection.”
“I will explain further. There are seven classes of mental ability. Firstly, there are ordinary people (puthujjana) who are full of desire, hatred and delusion; untrained in their action, speech and thought; their thinking acts slowly and with difficulty.
“Secondly, there are stream-winners who have attained to right view and rightly grasped the Master’s teaching. Their thinking powers are quick and function
easily as far as the first three fetters are concerned but beyond that they function slowly and with difficulty.
“Thirdly, there are once-returners in whom desire and hatred are reduced. Their thinking powers work quickly and easily as far as the five lower fetters are
concerned but slowly and with difficulty beyond that.
“Fourthly, there are non-returners in whom desire and hatred are eliminated. Their thinking powers work quickly and easily as far as the ten fetters but slowly and with difficulty beyond that.
“Fifthly, there are the arahants in whom the floods of sensual desire, desire for rebirth, personality-belief and ignorance have ceased, who have lived the holy life and reached their final goal. Their thinking powers work quickly as far as the range of a disciple is concerned but slowly and with difficulty beyond that.64
“Sixthly, there are Solitary Buddhas who are dependent on themselves alone, needing no teacher. Their thinking powers work quickly as far as their own range is concerned but as regards that which is exclusively the range of the Perfectly Enlightened Ones their thinking works slowly and with difficulty. Like a man who would readily cross a small river that was on his own property but would hesitate to cross the great ocean.
“Lastly, there are Perfectly Enlightened Buddhas who have all knowledge, are endowed with the ten powers, the four modes of fearlessness, and the eighteen characteristics of a Buddha. Their thinking powers are quickly exercised without sluggishness in any area of knowledge. As a sharp bolt on a powerful crossbow would easily pass through a thin cloth, just so their knowledge is unimpeded and easily outclasses the other six. It is because their minds are so clear and agile that the Buddhas can display the Twin Miracle.65
From that we may only guess how clear and active their powers are. For all these wonders there is no reason other than reflection that can be asserted.”
“Nevertheless, Nàgasena, reflection is carried out for the purpose of seeking out what was not already clear before the reflection began.”
“A rich man would not be called poor just because there was no food prepared when a traveller arrived at his house unexpectedly; nor would a tree be called barren when it was fully laden just because no fruit had yet fallen on the ground. So too the Buddha is indeed omniscient although his knowledge is gained through reflection.”

64. There is no lack in their wisdom, but as regards knowledge of former lives or
knowledge of the spiritual faculties of beings there is.
65. A feat of supernormal power where fountains of fire and water issue simultaneously
from each pore of his body.
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/milinda.pdf

...Why can't there be other Buddhas before the teaching completely dies out?
Again this is according to the Theravadra Canon and apparently applies only to this world system.

What do you consider to be "disappeared completely". Would you consider that the teachings have disappeared completely if nobody understands the Buddha's teaching, even though scriptures might still exist? Or must the scriptures also be completely destroyed?
The teachings cease to exist completely. Anything to do with the teachings (scriptures, icons, oral teachings, videos, ebooks...) EVERYTHING. No trace at all of the Dharma.

Do you think it might help if we do our best to destroy the remaining teachings, so as to prevent a long and painful death, and therefore hasten the coming of the new Buddha?
Are you on drugs or something? I am not a Millenarianist or any faction thereof (Doomsday Christianity for example). The Dharma is timeless whereas the teachings, as expedient means, are not. This means that they will disappear without my trying to make them disappear, whether I like it or not. While they still exist I will continue to practice and propagate them.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:20 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:First of all let me point out to you that I used the word "apparently" in all of my statements.


So far as I know, "apparently" means "appears to be so". And something appears to be so because you have personally seen it, or because you've worked it out for yourself. We don't generally say that something "appears to be so" just because it says so in a book.

Having said that, I've been trained as a scientist, so that might only be the case among those who have been trained in science or in skeptical thinking.

How can I "work out" or "realize" somebody elses omniscience?


Based on an understanding of what Buddhahood is you could concievably work out whether omniscience was possible for anyone who was a Buddha.

“Lastly, there are Perfectly Enlightened Buddhas who have all knowledge, are endowed with the ten powers, the four modes of fearlessness, and the eighteen characteristics of a Buddha. Their thinking powers are quickly exercised without sluggishness in any area of knowledge."


Assuming that "all knowledge" means knowing all the infinite details in all universes, past, present, and future, what reason do you have to think this is true? Can you give me a reasoned proof?

I was trained to trust reason above all else, and I believe the Buddha taught us to do this as well. It goes against all reason that a being can know all the infinite details in all universes. So I definitely can't accept such a idea.


...Why can't there be other Buddhas before the teaching completely dies out?
Again this is according to the Theravadra Canon and apparently applies only to this world system.


As you probably gathered by now, I'm looking for a definitive, exhaustive reason, rather than someone elses word for it. That's just the kind of Buddhist I am.

EVERYTHING. No trace at all of the Dharma.


Ok, so all of the scriptures must be destroyed before there can be another teaching Buddha, according to you.

Do you think it might help if we do our best to destroy the remaining teachings, so as to prevent a long and painful death, and therefore hasten the coming of the new Buddha?
The Dharma is timeless whereas the teachings, as expedient means, are not. This means that they will disappear without my trying to make them disappear, whether I like it or not.

Yes, but they will disappear a lot faster if you help them to disappear. And then the sooner we can begin a new cycle, for the benefit of all sentient beings.

This is what reason dictates, if the situation is as you have described it.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:30 pm

tsultrim wrote:So far as I know, "apparently" means "appears to be so". And something appears to be so because you have personally seen it, or because you've worked it out for yourself. We don't generally say that something "appears to be so" just because it says so in a book.
Baloney! It appears that any number divided by zero gives the outcome infinity, wouldn't you agree? Have you personally seen it? Have you worked it out yourself?

Having said that, I've been trained as a scientist, so that might only be the case among those who have been trained in science or in skeptical thinking.
I am also a scientist and have been trained in skeptical thinking.

Based on an understanding of what Buddhahood is you could concievably work out whether omniscience was possible for anyone who was a Buddha.
Based on the realisation of Buddhahood I will see it for myself. Unfortunately, until then, I will just have to go on the info given to me by people that I feel are trustworthy and have some measure of realisation themselves. This is called reasoned faith. I could reason it out based on the logic that : if the nature of all phenomena is emptiness, then realising emptiness one knows all phenomena. But this again would just be words.

I was trained to trust reason above all else, and I believe the Buddha taught us to do this as well. It goes against all reason that a being can know all the infinite details in all universes. So I definitely can't accept such a idea.
Well then, since Buddha taught reason (and by extension of this fact based his teachings on reason) then you will take the Buddhas (well apparently the Buddhas because they were recorded after his death) word for it? Well take a look here then http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

As you probably gathered by now, I'm looking for a definitive, exhaustive reason, rather than someone elses word for it. That's just the kind of Buddhist I am.
Then don’t waste any time in intellectual banter, sit down and mediate until you have rock hard calluses on your ass.

Yes, but they will disappear a lot faster if you help them to disappear. And then the sooner we can begin a new cycle, for the benefit of all sentient beings.
The point is not to make the practices disappear so that the new ones come along, the point is to take the existing practices and apply them RIGHT NOW in order to be enlightened RIGHT NOW!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:57 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:It appears that any number divided by zero gives the outcome infinity, wouldn't you agree? Have you personally seen it? Have you worked it out yourself?


You can indeed work it out for yourself. You don't have to go all the way to infinity to know the end result.

But the things we are talking about here are not like that, since there is no reasoning to support them at all, that I can see.

I could reason it out based on the logic that : if the nature of all phenomena is emptiness, then realising emptiness one knows all phenomena. But this again would just be words.


That reasoning doesn't hold any water whatsoever, because understanding that all things are empty of inherent existence doesn't help you to know with certainty what Joe Bloggs was thinking, on the other side of the planet, a hundred years ago, or what Mary Bloggs will be thinking a hundred years from now in the future.

If you think it does, then please provide your reasoning.

. . . then you will take the Buddhas (well apparently the Buddhas because they were recorded after his death) word for it?


I only accept what it says in the scriptures when what is said is reasonable. The Buddha's teaching that we should accept reason ahead of any authority is an eminently reasonable teaching.

As you probably gathered by now, I'm looking for a definitive, exhaustive reason, rather than someone elses word for it. That's just the kind of Buddhist I am.
Then don’t waste any time in intellectual banter, sit down and mediate until you have rock hard calluses on your ass.


What makes you think I haven't already done the hard work? I have indeed already done the hard work, and I can't think of any good reason why there can't be new teaching Buddhas before the teachings completely die out. If you can think of any good reasons, then let me know. I don't believe you are in any position to tell me to meditate on anything.

Yes, but they will disappear a lot faster if you help them to disappear. And then the sooner we can begin a new cycle, for the benefit of all sentient beings.
The point is not to make the practices disappear so that the new ones come along


My point is that if the Buddha already knows the details of what will happen in the future (which I don't believe for a minute that he does), and he knows exactly when the teachings will die out, and exactly when there will be a new Buddha, then it won't matter if we help things along a bit.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:17 pm

tsultrim wrote:You can indeed work it out for yourself. You don't have to go all the way to infinity to know the end result.
Really? Well somebody must have, right? So have you done it yourself or have you foolishly based your belief on the (incomplete) words of others?

That reasoning doesn't hold any water whatsoever, because understanding that all things are empty of inherent existence doesn't help you to know with certainty what Joe Bloggs was thinking, on the other side of the planet, a hundred years ago, or what Mary Bloggs will be thinking a hundred years from now in the future.

If you think it does, then please provide your reasoning.
Words to counter words, more words to counter those words, ad nauseum... PRACTICE!

What makes you think I haven't already done the hard work?
Coz you are here asking pointless questions to an ignorant fool instead of reaching enlightenment yourself and realising omniscience?

I have indeed already done the hard work...
It doesn't look like it. Excuse me for my ignorance but are you now saying that you are enlightened?

My point is that if the Buddha already knows the details of what will happen in the future (which I don't believe for a minute that he does), and he knows exactly when the teachings will die out, and exactly when there will be a new Buddha, then it won't matter if we help things along a bit.
Help things along a bit? Like how? Burn all the scriptures? Reduce temples to rubble? Kill all the members of the sangha? etc... Thus will accelerating the decline of the existing Dharma and ushering in a new "Golden Age"? If this is your logic, then I reccomend you seek professional help. From these guys maybe?
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"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:44 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:So have you done it yourself


I can do it for myself. I am not ignorant when it comes to mathematics.

When I have to trust the words of others then I am full of doubt - especially in the case of people who claim to know the details of future events with certainty. They would need to demonstrate to me that their predictions of the future always come true, in every detail, before I would even begin to be curious about their claims, let alone believe in their claims.

That reasoning doesn't hold any water whatsoever, because understanding that all things are empty of inherent existence doesn't help you to know with certainty what Joe Bloggs was thinking, on the other side of the planet, a hundred years ago, or what Mary Bloggs will be thinking a hundred years from now in the future.

If you think it does, then please provide your reasoning.
Words to counter words, more words to counter those words, ad nauseum... PRACTICE!


Since you are unable to see the error of your position, as I have just described, then you are the one who should PRACTICE!

What makes you think I haven't already done the hard work?
Coz you are here asking pointless questions to an ignorant fool instead of reaching enlightenment yourself and realising omniscience?


The first part of what you said may be true, but you don't know about the second part.

I have indeed already done the hard work...
It doesn't look like it. Excuse me for my ignorance but are you now saying that you are enlightened?


I'm saying that I have realized enough to be justified in what I am saying. You should be more concerned with what I'm saying rather than with speculating about matters which are of no use to you.

Help things along a bit? Like how? Burn all the scriptures? Reduce temples to rubble? Kill all the members of the sangha? etc...

None of this will make any difference so far as Dharma is concerned, in the case the Buddha already knows that it will happen ahead of time, which is what you are claiming.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:00 pm

When I have to trust the words of others then I am full of doubt - especially in the case of people who claim to know the details of future events with certainty. They would need to demonstrate to me that their predictions of the future always come true, in every detail, before I would even begin to be curious about their claims, let alone believe in their claims.
You don't have to be a genius to know that all compounded phenomena are impermanent. Anyway, nobody here claimed to know the future.
Since you are unable to see the error of your position, as I have just described, then you are the one who should PRACTICE!
I am taking a entertaining (comical, in fact) break from my practice.
None of this will make any difference so far as Dharma is concerned...
True, but it will effect your mind stream though, that is for sure!

Now, to a more salient point, exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Acchantika » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:32 pm

tsultrim wrote:
I could reason it out based on the logic that : if the nature of all phenomena is emptiness, then realising emptiness one knows all phenomena. But this again would just be words.


That reasoning doesn't hold any water whatsoever, because understanding that all things are empty of inherent existence doesn't help you to know with certainty what Joe Bloggs was thinking, on the other side of the planet, a hundred years ago, or what Mary Bloggs will be thinking a hundred years from now in the future.

If you think it does, then please provide your reasoning.


The omniscience of a Buddha does not necessarily mean literally knowing every possible permutation of information.

For example, in the sutras, Shakyamuni asks his students non-rhetorical questions, explicitly to acquire information. So presumably he did not know everything.

Hence, by some accounts, a Buddha, by virtue of knowing the nature of all things, "knows all things"; or knows the totality, the ultimate subsistence, of all things.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby maybay » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:57 pm

Acchantika wrote:
tsultrim wrote:The omniscience of a Buddha does not necessarily mean literally knowing every possible permutation of information.

Yes, it does. Buddha is not apart from knowledge.

For example, in the sutras, Shakyamuni asks his students non-rhetorical questions, explicitly to acquire information. So presumably he did not know everything.

Every action Buddha takes is a teaching. Try to see it that way.
Last edited by maybay on Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:06 pm

Acchantika wrote:The omniscience of a Buddha does not necessarily mean literally knowing every possible permutation of information.

For example, in the sutras, Shakyamuni asks his students non-rhetorical questions, explicitly to acquire information. So presumably he did not know everything.

Hence, by some accounts, a Buddha, by virtue of knowing the nature of all things, "knows all things"; or knows the totality, the ultimate subsistence, of all things.


I fully agree with your analysis.

But when I asked Greg what he meant by omniscience, and asked him, "Do you mean the ability to know the infinite number of details about the universe, past, present, and future?" (in the context of knowing with certainty the exact timing of the ending of the Dharma, and the exact timing of the appearance of another Buddha), he said that that was the definition of omniscience of the Buddha himself!

I remember reading somewhere in the scriptures a list of "unknowable things", which are unknowable even to Buddhas (I don't recall what the official name of the list was, because I'm not omniscient. :smile:) And I seem to remember that the ability to know the future was one of those unknowable things.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:10 pm

maybay wrote:Buddha is not apart from knowledge.


I'm not apart from you, but I don't know whether you are male or female, short or tall, skinny or fat.

Likewise with the Buddha. The mere fact that a person is not apart from things doesn't confer upon that person a detailed knowledge of those things.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Acchantika » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:31 pm

maybay wrote:
Acchantika wrote:The omniscience of a Buddha does not necessarily mean literally knowing every possible permutation of information.

Yes, it does.


You are free to take that interpretation, but not all scholars/teachers/commentators do. So, it does not necessarily mean that.

Regardless, as it is at least physically impossible for a limited container (such as a brain) to contain unlimited information, this view cannot be based on reason.

So, for this reason it would be useless to debate it, even if true, as it can have no reasonable presentation.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby maybay » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:31 pm

tsultrim wrote:And I seem to remember that the ability to know the future was one of those unknowable things.

Maybe you'd better find that quote.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby maybay » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:40 pm

Acchantika wrote:Regardless, as it is at least physically impossible for a limited container (such as a brain) to contain unlimited information, this view cannot be based on reason.


Its not about storing information but retrieving it. That's all the brain is anyway. Knowledge is not constantly present to the Buddha Shakyamuni, but when he wants it he gets it - any knowledge, instantly. Even better than Google.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby tsultrim » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:44 pm

maybay wrote:Knowledge is not constantly present to the Buddha Shakyamuni, but when he wants it he gets it - any knowledge, instantly. Even better than Google.


That's your claim. Now prove that it is possible, using reason.

For example, explain how a Buddha could accurately predict the result of a dice-throw, every single time.
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Re: St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Materialism

Postby Acchantika » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:48 pm

tsultrim wrote:I fully agree with your analysis.

But when I asked Greg what he meant by omniscience, and asked him, "Do you mean the ability to know the infinite number of details about the universe, past, present, and future?" (in the context of knowing with certainty the exact timing of the ending of the Dharma, and the exact timing of the appearance of another Buddha), he said that that was the definition of omniscience of the Buddha himself!


I do think he is correct in that too much speculation or certainty on the issue is kind of counter-productive. But as claims such as that of omniscience require an unreasonable amount of faith I think it is helpful to simply point out that it need not necessarily be interpreted that way, lest it become distracting for the more skeptical proclivities.

I remember reading somewhere in the scriptures a list of "unknowable things", which are unknowable even to Buddhas (I don't recall what the official name of the list was, because I'm not omniscient. :smile:) And I seem to remember that the ability to know the future was one of those unknowable things.


Are you thinking of the fourteen unanswerable questions?

If so, the Buddha's silence on these issues is not generally considered to be a result of ignorance, so much as an inherent error in the questioning and/or a refusal to encourage metaphysical proliferation non-conducive to liberation.
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